GOAL Files Emergency Legislation

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Representative George Peterson and Senator Richard Moore will be filing emergency legislation to address the Massachusetts firearm licensing crisis in the next few days.

For many months lawful gun owners who have been steadfastly attempting to comply with the Massachusetts gun laws have met roadblock after roadblock. According to the Commonwealth's laws applications for a Firearm Identification Card (FID) or a License to Carry (LTC) must be processed within 40 days. Within the last few months hundreds of GOAL members who are experiencing delays in the application process have contacted our office. As of late it is not unusual for an applicant to wait six months for the process to be completed. Some members have informed us that they are forced to wait months for a simple appointment to get the process started. Under current law licensed owners are only protected for 90 days after the expiration. After that exemption is exhausted persons in possession of guns may be fined $500 - $5,000.

Unfortunately for the lawful gun owners of the Commonwealth this is not a new problem. As far back as 1974 GOAL filed legislation to grant licensed gun owners a grace period due to application problems. The same happened in 1976 and again in 2004. In 2004 the wait got as long as 12 months. Now we are facing yet another breakdown of the firearm licensing system. Taking into account that Massachusetts residents pay $100 for their license, more than double any other New England state, there is simply no excuse for these issues to continue to arise. One thing that has become increasingly evident is that the State is not capable of administering the licensing system it has put in place. Perhaps that in itself is a testimony to the incomprehensible set of gun laws that lawful citizens have to deal with on a daily basis.

With all of the evidence at hand and the immediate urgent nature of a system wide failure, GOAL is asking the legislature to act on a piece of emergency legislation to do away with the term of an FID or LTC. The legislation would simply make these licenses valid until revoked or suspended. This would take the burden away from the state that it evidently can't handle and the potential fines and serious issues with technically being an expired licensed gun owner in Massachusetts. GOAL would urge all of our members to contact their local legislators to sign onto to this emergency legislation and enact it before the end of the year.
On behalf of the members of GOAL we would like to thank Representative Peterson and Senator R. Moore for addressing this matter for the lawful gun owners of the state.

An Act Relative to the Term of Firearm Licenses

SECTION 1. Section 129B of Chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, shall be amended by striking paragraph (9) in lines 170 to 186 and replacing it with the following:-
(9) A firearm identification card shall be valid unless revoked or suspended.

SECTION 2. Section 131 of Chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, shall be amended by striking in paragraph (i) in lines 231 to 245 the words "A license to carry or possess firearms shall be valid, unless revoked or suspended, for a period of not more than 6 years from the date of issue and shall expire on the anniversary of the licensee's date of birth occurring not less than 5 years but not more than 6 years from the date of issue, except that if the licensee applied for renewal before the license expired, the license shall remain valid for a period of 90 days beyond the stated expiration date on the license, unless the application for renewal is denied if the licensee is on active duty with the armed forces of the United States on the expiration date of his license, the license shall remain valid until the licensee is released from active duty and for a period of not less than 90 days following such release. Any renewal thereof shall expire on the anniversary of the licensee's date of birth occurring not less than 5 years but not more than 6 years from the effective date of such license. Any license issued to an applicant born on February 29 shall expire on March 1." and replacing it with the following:-

A license to carry or possess firearms shall be valid unless revoked or suspended.

SECTION 3. Section 131 of Chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, shall be further amended by striking in paragraph (i) in lines 271 to 274 the following:-

Any person over the age of 70 and any law enforcement officer applying for a license to carry firearms through his employing agency shall be exempt from the requirement of paying a renewal fee for a Class A or Class B license to carry.
 
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With no expiration, couldn't your issuing agency maintain your LTC restrictions indefinitely even after you move to a different town.
 

jar

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Unfortunately this won't provide any direct help to initial applicants. The real solution is consequences for not issuing within the statutorily mandated 40 days, but a bill providing that is politically DOA for sure. I doubt this will get any traction either but at least it's not guaranteed to get killed by MCOPA instantly.
 

ntomsw

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With no expiration, couldn't your issuing agency maintain your LTC restrictions indefinitely even after you move to a different town.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. So, someone like me would be stuck with them until what? Until when? I move out of state??
 
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ntomsw

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What about restrictions period?
What about the whole 40 day bullshit?
What about 1 agency to do licensing, and not each chief having their own bullshit, backwards discretion for each applicant?
 

jar

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With no expiration, couldn't your issuing agency maintain your LTC restrictions indefinitely even after you move to a different town.

Good catch. I was looking at the bright side of this since I already have an unrestricted LTC. Is there any law that precludes a person having multiple LTCs?

- - - Updated - - -

What about restrictions period?
What about the whole 40 day bullshit?
What about 1 agency to do licensing, and not each chief having their own bullshit, backwards discretion for each applicant?

If the state is unable to give a response within the 40 days, it should default to an immediate issue on the 41st day. The state failed to uphold its end of the contract.

There's a huge difference between what should be and what is politically possible in this state. Would passage of this bill be better than what we have now? As long as it doesn't stick people with restrictions for eternity, I think it is.
 

ntomsw

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If the state is unable to give a response within the 40 days, it should default to an immediate issue on the 41st day. The state failed to uphold its end of the contract.

THIS.

Some people wait 6 months, and because the average person does not have $5k to take the state to court, the state & these towns know they can get away with it.
 

ntomsw

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Some problems lie with the state, and some problems lie with the actual issuing cites & towns. Both of them are dicking people around on purpose!
 

jasons

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Not a fan. I understand and appreciate what they're trying to do here, but this doesn't address the root cause of the issue. The fact that local chiefs have unbridled and unchecked authority over the entire process is the root of the issue. If anything this lets them off the hook while opening up a host of new issues for legal gun owners to contend with. For example:

  • Illegal delays with initial licensing are not addressed
  • The unconstitutional practice of setting arbitrary restrictions on individual rights is not addressed
  • The current unconstitutional "local rule" licensing scheme is not addressed

I really appreciate that GOAL is doing ~something~ here, I'm just not sure what this will accomplish in the grand scheme of things.
 
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ntomsw

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Not a fan. I understand and appreciate what they're trying to do here, but this doesn't address the root cause of the issue. The fact that local chiefs have unbridled and unchecked authority over the entire process is the root of the issue. If anything this lets them off the hook while opening up a host of new issues for legal gun owners to contend with. For example:

  • Illegal delays with initial licensing are not addressed
  • The unconstitutional practice of setting arbitrary restrictions on individual rights is not addressed
  • The current unconstitutional "local rule" licensing scheme is not addressed

I really appreciate that GOAL is doing ~something~ here, I'm just not sure what this will accomplish in the grand scheme of things.

I am not as eloquent as some people, but this is pretty much what I am getting at.
 
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Not a fan. I understand and appreciate what they're trying to do here, but this doesn't address the root cause of the issue. The fact that local chiefs have unbridled and unchecked authority over the entire process is the root of the issue. If anything this lets them off the hook while opening up a host of new issues for legal gun owners to contend with. For example:

  • Illegal delays with initial licensing are not addressed
  • The unconstitutional practice of setting arbitrary restrictions on individual rights is not addressed
  • The current unconstitutional "local rule" licensing scheme is not addressed

I really appreciate that GOAL is doing ~something~ here, I'm just not sure what this will accomplish in the grand scheme of things.

Agree on the things not addressed, it would however provide relief to however many hundreds (thousands?) of people renewing every year. The last time GOAL tried a huge bill it got nowhere.

Edit: Would this do anything to help non-residents who have to reapply every year in Chelsea?
 

jasons

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It feels to me like GOAL is saying that they don't have the juice to attack the root of the issue (they would be right,) so they're going to aim for a lower bar. The flaw in this strategy is that:

1. They're no more likely to win this battle than the other
2. There's a risk of people looking at this and saying "That's all that's wrong? GMAFB."
3. If they lose this battle (which is likely) they will have shown how weak they really are
4. Win or lose, this burns valuable political capital and other resources that could be better spent on root causes

I personally don't see an upside. I'd much rather see them sponsor real legislation that addresses real problems.
 
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ntomsw

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Agree on the things not addressed, it would however provide relief to however many hundreds (thousands?) of people renewing every year. The last time GOAL tried a huge bill it got nowhere.

Edit: Would this do anything to help non-residents who have to reapply every year in Chelsea?

So it only addresses the people who are renewing???? What about everyone else???
 
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A license to carry or possess firearms shall be valid unless revoked or suspended..


My first license (FID) said this. I do not imagine the state killing the revenue stream they now have or the individual towns giving up the authority to deny lawful citizens their 2A rights -- at least not while we still have one-party rule on "Bacon" Hill.
 

yanici

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Give GOAL a little credit here. They're trying. Nobody knows how hard it is more than our GOAL workers. We all know that we'll never see anything perfect and to our liking get through and signed by the Gov. If they can lighten the load on gun owners even a little bit, my hat goes off to them and the legislators that step up to the plate.

Support GOAL and Comm2A.
 

jasons

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Give GOAL a little credit here. They're trying. Nobody knows how hard it is more than our GOAL workers. We all know that we'll never see anything perfect and to our liking get through and signed by the Gov. If they can lighten the load on gun owners even a little bit, my hat goes off to them and the legislators that step up to the plate.

Support GOAL and Comm2A.


That sort of defeatist attitude is not helpful in my opinion.
 
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Give GOAL a little credit here. They're trying. Nobody knows how hard it is more than our GOAL workers. We all know that we'll never see anything perfect and to our liking get through and signed by the Gov. If they can lighten the load on gun owners even a little bit, my hat goes off to them and the legislators that step up to the plate.

Support GOAL and Comm2A.

I applaud (and support) GOAL's efforts now with this and the great work they've done in the past --It's the crew at the State House I have issue with.
 

ntomsw

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Give GOAL a little credit here. They're trying. Nobody knows how hard it is more than our GOAL workers. We all know that we'll never see anything perfect and to our liking get through and signed by the Gov. If they can lighten the load on gun owners even a little bit, my hat goes off to them and the legislators that step up to the plate.

Support GOAL and Comm2A.

You really gave me good reason there to continue supporting GOAL. Comm2A is 1 thing, but GOAL?
 
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Most remarks above are valid - I am simply happy they are attacking small portions instead of the MAMMOTH bill strategy that included adding HUGE MANDATORY MINIMUM sentencing laws to the books.
 
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D.O.A., and not necessarily a bad thing. The fact that the issue of restrictions isn't addressed is a huge problem with this IMO.
 

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For folks wondering "What's GOAL going to do about X?", read November's issue of the GOAL newspaper. From the "New Approach" article on the first page, here are the bills GOAL plans on filing:

#1: An Act Relative to Constitutional Rights: This legislation creates a new section of law that provides a presumption that the right
to keep and bear arms is an individual civil right. It also provides protections against other government entities in the state from passing laws and regulations restricting that right.
#2: An Act Relative to Equitable Firearm License Fees: This bill drops the current license fees for FID and LTC to $40. $20 goes to the state and $20 goes to the city/town.
#3: An Act Relative to Fair Licensing: This bill creates a “shall issue” LTC and removes restriction language.
#4: An Act Relative to Firearm License Disqualifiers: This bill puts language in the FID and LTC laws: “When determining the status of a prohibited person in regards to convictions, the determination shall only be made using the penalties and sentences in place at the time of conviction.”
#5: An Act Relative to Non-Resident Second Amendment Civil Rights: This bill cleans up the nonresident LTC language making it a “shall issue”, extending the license to six years, establishing a prohibited person, etc.
#6: An Act Relative to the Term of Firearm Licenses: This bill would remove the term of an FID or LTC and make them valid unless revoked or suspended.
#7: An Act Relative to Youth Firearm Training and Competition: This bill breaks up the current Section 130 dealing with legal aliens and youth and creating two separate sections of law. It also cleans up the language concerning furnishing a minor a “weapon” for all lawful purposes under the supervision of a card or license holder.
#8: An Act Relative to Youth Hunting Programs: This bill would allow junior hunters and shooters to apply for their FID at age 14 so they can receive it when they turn 15.
#9: An Act Removing Change of Address Civil Rights Penalties: This bill removes the harsh penalties for failure to file change of address.
#10: An Act Repealing the Ban on Modern Sporting Arms: This bill removes ban on modern sporting rifles and magazines.
#11: An Act Relative to the Lawful Sale of Ammunition: This bill has been redrafted from earlier versions and would allow for the mail order of ammunition and components.
#12: An Act Relative to Unloaded Rifles or Shotguns: Repeals the law mandating the rifles and shotguns be enclosed in a case while on a public way.
#13: An Act Relative to the Lawful Sale of Handguns: Removes the AG’s authority to regulate weapons and repeals any previous regulations.

ETA: Looks like they decided to move up #6.
 
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Dont get me wrong though. I am VERY HAPPY that GOAL is making this effort. Fixing each thing piece by piece is the new approach and I hope it works. If they continue to try getting HUGE bills through...well we all know how well that works out.
 

jasons

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Not a defeatist here. A realist. GOAL can only try to do so much. That's why Comm2A is so important. We need the soft glove of GOAL and the iron fist of Comm2A. It ain't easy.


We disagree. In my opinion GOAL should be fighting big, loud battles to bring attention to the war. Losing battles loudly does more for the war than winning quietly.
 
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